Written by Nat Young.
Over the bank holiday weekend, we spent time clearing out our garage and throwing junk into a skip. Most of this junk consisted of broken things; an old TV cabinet with a broken back, chests of drawers with droopy drawer bottoms which had been long since replaced, a broken up double bed frame, two broken kettles claimed by our hard water, a broken shredder which shredded its last letter after the death of my dad-in-law, and a lot of boxes for things either out of warranty or that we no longer have.
Throwing these things away felt really good. Not just from a purging of rubbish and freeing up space perspective, but also from a mental health perspective. I found myself kicking apart the drawers into smaller pieces, allowing the broken pieces to fly across the garage floor. At first I was surprised by the strength of my legs as my foot made contact with the drawers – the drawers came apart so easily as I kicked them! Then stamping on polystyrene packing from the cardboard boxes, watching the white pieces break under my heel. Even some bubble wrap, twisting it in my hands until I heard many satisfying pops. After the last piece of cardboard had been placed into the skip, I wondered why the whole experience had felt so good mentally. Then it occurred to me. It was therapeutic because it was metaphorical.
We were purging old, broken rubbish from our lives. Things we had been holding onto just in case they might be useful someday. Instead they were just hanging around, cluttering up our garage and preventing us from making use of it. Mentally, many of us hold onto old ‘junk’ (maybe emotions or thoughts) because we’re too frightened to let them go. Maybe it’s because these emotions and thoughts are what we know and they’ve become old friends. Familiarity can be easier than the alternative of the unknown. However, sometimes you have to let go of the old before you can move on with the new. What old rubbish could you purge from your life?